(CNN) - After months of avoiding references to the decades-old “Keating Five” scandal that nearly derailed John McCain’s political career, Barack Obama’s campaign is highlighting the Republican presidential nominee’s ties to Charles Keating, an Arizona businessman who went to prison during the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.
The campaign is releasing a new 13-minute “documentary” about the scandal, and sending a message to supporters that ties McCain to the federal bailout that followed.
A preview of the new Web video, "Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis," shows clips of McCain's hearings before the Senate Ethics Committee two decades ago, as the narrator says "the Keating Five involved all the things that have brought the modern crisis” and that McCain "has not learned the lessons and has continued to follow policies that are going to produce a disaster."
Watch: 'Keating 5' dogs McCain
McCain was one of five senators, dubbed the "Keating Five," who met with regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, the owner of Lincoln Savings and Loan.
Listen: McCain aides fight back over Keating on a campaign conference call
In a message to supporters Sunday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe tied McCain to the lack of oversight that led to the savings and loan crisis of that era, and the massive federal bailout package that resulted. "During the savings and loan crisis of the late '80s and early '90s, McCain's political favors and aggressive support for deregulation put him at the center of the fall of Lincoln Savings and Loan," Plouffe writes. "More than 23,000 investors lost their savings. Overall, the savings and loan crisis required the federal government to bail out the savings of hundreds of thousands of families and ultimately cost American taxpayers $124 billion."
The Obama campaign had largely avoided mentioning the disgraced Arizona financier for most of the year. After an Obama backer referenced the Keating Five scandal this spring, the campaign appeared to distance itself from the comment — but Obama signaled it might be fair game later in the year: "I was just asked previously about a whole host of associations that are a lot more flimsy than John McCain’s relationship to Keating Five," he told reporters.
Two weeks ago, as controversy over deregulation and financial oversight began to dominate the public consciousness and the McCain campaign started to step up its attacks over Obama’s associations with controversial Chicago figures, Obama spokesman Bill Burton raised the issue for the first time since May. The McCain camp had accused the New York Times of supporting Obama's presidential bid; Burton responded by sending reporters a list of investigative stories the paper had run about the Illinois senator, complaining that McCain’s relationship with Keating had not come up for similar scrutiny over the course of the campaign.
The Senate Ethics Committee investigated and cleared McCain in 1991, but said that he showed poor judgment in his efforts for Keating, who had been a major contributor to his campaign. McCain later turned over $112,000 in campaign contributions from Keating to the U.S. Treasury.
The documentary will be released online at noon.
The move comes two days after Gov. Sarah Palin accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists who target their own country" because he was supported by Bill Ayers, a founding member of the Weather Underground.
Responding to the new attacks over McCain’s history with Keating, the GOP nominee’s spokesman Brian Rogers raised those links again.
"John McCain has been open and honest about the Keating matter, and even the Democratic special counsel in charge recommended that Senator McCain be completely exonerated,” said Rogers. “By contrast, Barack Obama has been fundamentally dishonest about his friendship and work with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, whose radical group bombed the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. Nor has Barack Obama come clean on his close friendship with Tony Rezko, a felon convicted on bribery charges who subsidized the purchase of Barack Obama's home. It's obvious that Barack Obama is frantically attacking because he knows that most voters find these kinds of friendships, and the failed judgment they expose, to be unacceptable for our next president."
It is unbelievable that John McCain has decided to use these kinds of tactics in such trying times. I need someone who can help me put my child through college, maintain my job and retire with dignity. Smears started by the McCain camp and Sara Palin who has enough skeletons in her closet does not help me meet my goals.
Let's elect a president willing to fight on the issues not smear their oponents. I am glad however, that Obama is fighting back.
I LOVE IT.
IF MCSAME WANTS TO PLAY DIRTY, OBAMA IS GOING TO STICK IT TO HIM.
THIS OLD 72YR FUMBLING BUMBLING TWAT IS TOAST.
and I do not play politics as usual,
uh until I need to do it to win.
OBAMA IS NOT CHANGE.
its about time.
The fear tactics from McCain are vomitous. They have NOTHING to say for how they will make America Stronger! At least this goes to the very weak moral fiber of John McCain!
Good attack ad! Obama needs to keep them coming, responding aggressively and proactively to McCain's Rove-tactics of lies and fear.
Awsome now that we are on the character topic McCain will be on the defense because his crap stinks a lot more.
About time they bring this up!
Good for the Obama camp. If Mccain wants to fight, then lets get the boxing gloves ready!
America loves to build people up just to tear them down, and McCain and Obama will each be receiving hate from half the country.... this show is in it's third act. I believe these are both great man, but politics is cut-throat, that's just the nature of the beast, and ANYONE who enters the arena knows this and practices it. Americans that are too delusional or self-righteous to accept this fact are living in a different world.
It is about time the American people know why McCain claims he does not know much about Economics.(hiding Keating five scandal)
It is about time the American people know that this kind of Financial mess is not new to John McCain ,he has been destroying the American financial system for decades!!
It is about time the American people know McCain is worse than Bush.
It is about time the American people say to McCain Enough is Enough!!!
Yeah, let's compare Obama's direct ties to Chicago mobsters and American terrorists to McCain being cleared of any wrong doing by the sitting prosecutor..
Now that's palling around!! Sarah Palin is a cancer to this election.
Uh oh. Here comes trouble for McCain. After all the smears on Obama, he wouldn't think he'd get away with Keating 5 would he?
Reveal who millionaire McCain is, let American people know him.
About time the did this.
When is someone from the so-called christian right going to denounce Sarah Palin’s glorification of alcohol. She knew a lot of kids and young adults were watching the debates yet that didn’t stop her from refering to herself as JOE SIXPACK AMERICAN. She should be required to enroll in AA.
MADD needs to put out an ad against this.
This is becoming like the Kevin Bacon game. How many degrees of separation can put your opponent to a crook? Ayers is at least 3 degrees to Obama, Keating is less.
MEOW ***** gnarl
the economy stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looks like Obama can smear with the best of them. Why don't the Obamabots start preaching to him? When he does it, it is justified and when McCain does it, it is "swift-boating"? First, learn the definition of "swift-boating" and second, realize that your "savior" Obama is nothing more than a filthy politician.
What goes around, comes around. It's sad that Obama has to respond to the lame distraction and diversion tactics that the McLame campaign has now resorted to. Since McCain has nothing new to offer other than Obama's stolen slogans, he's sunk to where he has nothing left to campaign on. Pathetic.
Just say NO to Bush 44.
CNN, I hope that you guys do your jobs & show this ad over & over again just like you have subjected us to Sarah Failin's lunatic attacks all day yesterday & today. They want to attack Barack for someone he was on a board with that committed an act when he was 8, but John McCain was directly involved in this corruption scandal. This is huge because it is the exact same thing that we just went through with the Wall Street attack.
John McCain needs to tell Miss Moosebreath to shut her trap because now it's on. She has too many skeletons in her closet to be throwing bs bombs.
Also I am in Nashville, TN & we have the town decked out for Barack for tomorrow's debate. McPalin's a joke!!!! Go Barack!!!!!
Did you forget that McCain wasn't charged and even praised for his cooperation? McCain has the same involvment in this as did John Glenn, a democrat "star"
this is non-news and if this is the worse you can come up with, then John McCain is obviously a great politician
Why did Senator McCain Go to Jail?
Look at what his wife Cindy McCain and son Andrew K McCain did to Salt Lake State Bank I see it runs in the family??
Again the McCain 's are not held accountable for the actions...
Please send the McCain family to Jail!!!!!!
Obama must balance attacks with offering concrete plans for America's future. The only thing McCain has left are false attacks. He has absolutely no clue on how to solve America's current woes.